50 Stories: Green Infrastructure, Asbury- Broadneck United Methodist Church

This month as part of our 50 Stories for Our 50th we are focusing on our Green Infrasturce work. This blog highlights one of our more recent projects at the Asbury-Broadneck United Methodist Church (ABUMC) cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

At Asbury- Broadneck, headstones would float as the stormwater runoff flowed from an uphill park into the historic African American church’s cemetery, where civil war soldiers, as well as Harriet Tubman’s descendants, are buried. However, the current church was rebuilt after the original building burnt down in the 1900s. The fire destroyed all burial records making it difficult to pinpoint where the restoration team could locate the project without disturbing the cemetery.

Restorative work began in November 2018 and has been completed; with a unique step pool conveyance system, an imbricated channel, and one more step pool that drains out into a mowed wetland which was originally a grass wetland. The church members facilitated and took part in the planting and to do so, church members sought certification through the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy. Additionally, the church funded and built the bridge entrance to the cemetery grounds.

As a  further preventative, the restoration team upgraded existing stormwater management practices at the Broadneck Park so that the stormwater would filter through the larger stones and the smaller stones, in the swale. The rocks in the swale prevented the water from running off into a nearby house’s backyard which led into the cemetery.

The area is now thriving with thousands of tadpoles, dragonflies, wetland plants and the gravesites are secure as you walk around the historic African American church grounds. “This project is about planting seeds in our community to show them the great positive aspects of connecting with nature, restoring nature, and preserving our communities of colors legacy,” remarked Randy Rowel, Jr., Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church Stormwater Disciple.

The success of this collaborative project was built on the trans-disciplinary effort that was driven by the Church and includes community members, watershed organizations, engineers, landscape architects, archaeologists, and more.

This project was made possible by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, through the Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration Grant Program, awarded ABUMC.


50th Anniversary